Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Leaving Certificate English 2013, Paper 1

Our former pupil William Trevor (real name Trevor Cox) featured in this morning's Higher Level English Leaving Certificate Paper 1, in the shape of an interview from the Paris Review by Mira Stout (click here for the full interview). Trevor talked about the short story being 'the art of the glimpse', an idea followed through in Composition 4, where candidates were asked for a descriptive essay 'based on a variety of glimpsed moments'. The questions which followed this extract were fair while allowing the better candidates to stretch themselves (there was some odd phrasing in A iii, where candidates were asked if Trevor's responses were 'rich in language and imagery' - it's difficult to imagine what he could have used other than language).

Another fine Irish writer, Belinda McKeon (see our short review of her novel Solace here) also featured in the comprehension section, with this piece from the Irish Times on the centenary of the opening of Grand Central Station in New York. The third choice was less literary - Emily Nussbaum's article 'Tune in next week - the curious staying power of the cliff-hanger' (film and television mostly) from the New Yorker. Again, the questions were straightforward, with information retrieval, opinion and style to the fore. The B questions included a topic which could do with freshening up - a talk on the role of radio and television in the lives of young people today (at least allowing candidates to point how these media are in relative decline).

The composition questions followed the trend of recent years, in becoming more defined, especially in narrative options (this year, a short story about a reunion, and another in which a central character is manipulating or being manipulated). The wording of option 5 might have challenged borderline candidates (the tension between 'the everyday treadmill and the gilded promises of life'). 'The storytelling evidence in music and song and its impact on you as a listener' is also pretty defined.

Ordinary level candidates should have sailed through their paper - comprehension pieces by Des Bishop about his father, by Gary Larson on The Far Side and another by a comedian, Michael McIntyre's Life and Laughing. The composition titles will have scared no-one.

And so on to the literature paper tomorrow. Click here for plenty of Macbeth revision resources.


Anonymous said...

I did my leaving cert today and completely misunderstood title 5. I am so worried now. I worked so so hard at english for the past two years and now it feels like I've thrown it all away. I was hoping for an A but there is no hope of that now. How harshly can they penalise for misinterpretation?

Anonymous said...

horrible essay titles if you dont like short stories

SCC English Department said...

What was the misunderstanding? If you worked that hard, and you were hoping for an A, it's unlikely all has been thrown away.